The Victorian Transport Association has an important voice for trucking and those representing the road transport industry. Peter Anderson has been at the helm of the VTA for some time now, but he has been involved in the trucking industry for a lot longer.
His association is one of the larger members of the Australian Trucking Association and counts among its members the biggest trucking operations in the country.
“One of the things I have been able to do since I took on this role is to pick up on the issues very quickly,” says Anderson. “The fact I have a background in the industry, for 37 years in management in transport, means I have got a good grounding.”
Anderson’s father managed a transport business in North Melbourne when freight in Victoria was dominated by the wharves. He joined NQX in the early eighties and was part for its push into the Southern States. He later moved on to Darwin Express, TNT Express and TNT Country. After this, he went across to Brambles running an armoured car depot in North Melbourne.
Next stop was Ansett, in its freight express division and then on to Border Express. When he began with Border Express they were a $10 million business and it grew to over $280 million during his time there.
He left there to become CEO at the Scott Group of Companies in 2011. This was the family owned side of the Scott empire at the time. Early on in his tenure a truck was caught speeding in NSW by the RMS leading to an audit of records and the Scott operation getting found out for lax record keeping and fined for same.
“Under COR you are charged and deemed to be guilty,” says Anderson. “You have to prove your innocence. It is being changed now, but it was a reverse onus of proof, you had to have taken all reasonable steps. When a magistrate reads the legislation, they read it word for word. All the prosecution have to do is prove you didn’t do everything possible.
“We had GPS in 53 of our 460 prime movers and when they drew evidence out of our records, none of the vehicles cited had GPS. If they had been included we could say we had taken reasonable steps.The inference was the company was being run incorrectly, and that wasn’t true.”
From Anderson’ point of view COR is there in order for industry to be held to account as it should be. The industry is aware of its responsibilities and is doing something about it, with safety driving changes throughout the trucking world. In Victoria, particularly, community awareness of the trucking industry is quite high with a lot of criticism of what trucking is doing at street level.